Reworked – The Company Culture Podcast
Welcome to Reworked, the company culture podcast from inclusion and diversity specialists EW Group. Reworked examines our working lives and takes a fresh look at the way we work. Every fortnight you’ll get the latest thinking on company culture from leading experts in organisational culture and inclusive leadership. Take our thought leaders with you on your commute.
Subscribe to Reworked on iTunes.
Episode 9 – Unconscious Bias and Brand Reputation with Jane Farrell
On 12th April 2018, two black men were arrested in a Starbucks branch in Philadelphia while waiting for a friend to join them. Mobile-phone footage of the pair being put in handcuffs in front of disbelieving onlookers soon went viral. The arrests sparked demonstrations outside the branch and wider outrage across social media.
As part of the company’s response, Starbucks announced that it would close more than 8,000 of its US stores on 29th May to run unconscious bias training sessions for around 175,000 employees. It was an unprecedented move in high-street retail.
Jane Farrell co-founded EW Group in 1992, and is one of the UK’s leading experts on diversity and inclusion. Jane recently appeared on Radio 4’s Today programme and Channel 5 News to talk about the Starbucks incident and the resulting spotlight on unconscious bias training.
In this episode of Reworked, Jane speaks to Rachael Wilson about the rise and rise of the term ‘unconscious bias’ in public and professional discourse. Together they try to unravel the “Rubik’s Cube” of how advantage and disadvantage operate in different workplaces. You’ll hear Jane’s own story and her formative experiences of inclusion/exclusion in and outside of work.
“[The incident in Philadelphia] obviously shouldn’t have happened,” says Jane, “but Starbucks had responded to this dreadful situation very strongly and powerfully.”
“There was one figure quoted that it was going to cost Starbucks $12 million to close the stores. My reflection on that is that it’s a drop in the ocean compared to the lost revenue that might have occurred, and the damage to the brand, had they not taken strong action.”
An unerringly positive advocate of the diversity and inclusion agenda, Jane also issues a rallying call to senior leaders in business to “get the blood pressure down around diversity” and to focus on practical ways to create more inclusive cultures in their organisations.
Episode 8 – Tech Solutions to Sexual Harassment with Jillian Kowalchuk
As we journey across London, whether night or day but almost undoubtedly absorbed in our technology, how in tune are we with our physical personal safety in the moment?
Rachael speaks with Jillian Kowalchuk the creator of Safe and The City, a free app which merges police crime data on sexual assault in London with the stories of users. With this information, people are empowered to make informed choices about their travel routes, and businesses and communities know where to direct their efforts to create an inclusive environment.
From her experiences travelling, Jillian tells us she found knowing her surroundings allowed her to adapt her journey choices, which gave her the confidence to better manage her own safety. However, current technology tends to only provide information on the quickest routes to places, not necessarily the safest.
Safe and The City aims to alert people before they walk into known hotspots, so they have the knowledge to make safer choices. Attracting 7,000 users in just 6 weeks, people are clearly recognising the need to be proactive about their safety day-to-day.
Jillian also highlights the opportunities for businesses and communities to use data to make London a safer and more inclusive city for us all. The data also has the power to enhance brand reputation; providing an invaluable insight into the perception of employees externally, in a similar way that Glassdoor operates for workplaces internally.
Episode 7 – Leadership and Perfectionism with Jane Crombleholme
Rachael talks to Jane Crombleholme, Head of Executive Education at the Alliance Manchester Business School, about the concept of anti-perfectionism and being ‘just good enough’ as a leader.
Is it harder than ever to be a strong leader? Leadership must be authentic, inclusive and empathetic, all while delivering a high level of performance and results.
Jane Crombleholme is the Head of Executive Education at the Alliance Manchester Business School, the oldest and largest in the UK, and the Chair of the Board of the NHS Stockport Clinical Commissioning Group. With her years of experience in management development, Jane is an advocate for a more relaxed (and therefore more authentic) take on models of senior leadership.
The episode includes Jane’s three-point plan for taking perfectionism out of your leadership approach.
“I have become really conscious about not being perfect, about ‘that is good enough’. And I’ve done it consciously so that my team and my people see that. I feel quite strongly about that. And as a woman, and a mother, just being good enough is fine. Stop trying to be perfect.”
Noticing, listening, and giving people the licence to make mistakes and learn from them are all key elements of this anti-perfectionist approach. It’s a liberating concept, and the conversation ranges from strategic leadership and people management to creativity and wellbeing.
Episode 6 – Creating a Movement for Change with Joeli Brearley
For Episode 6 of Reworked, Rachael travelled to Levenshulme in Manchester to look up an old friend who has turned her passion for workplace equality into real purpose.
Joeli Brearley launched the Pregnant Then Screwed campaign three years ago as a forum for women to share their stories about how they were treated by employers while pregnant or returning to work after the birth of a child.
In this interview, Joeli shares her personal story and what gave her the impetus to get started. We explore how a passion becomes a project, how that project becomes a lobbying campaign with impact, and then a movement that captures the hearts and minds of working parents around the world.
Joeli Brearley founded the Pregnant Then Screwed campaign after a personal experience of discrimination when pregnant with her first child. The campaign now operates internationally and lobbies for legislative and organisational modernisation to ensure recognition, respect and change for working mums and dads.
Episode 5 – Culture Change with Phil Jones MBE
As the landscape of work becomes ever more complex, how can you as a company ensure you have a workforce that is adaptable, resilient and diverse enough to make smart business decisions?
Phil Jones MBE talks to Rachael about how to drive culture change, and the key values and behaviours needed to support a modern workforce. Do your people feel included enough to participate? Are they engaged to the level needed to boost innovation in a market as fierce and fast-paced as tech?
Phil shares personal insights and examples of the changes he made – large and small – that have seen Brother UK named as one of the Times Top 100 places to work, as well as an Investors in People Platinum Workplace.
Episode 4 – Diversity Opportunities in Italy with Rachael Wilson
EW Group MD Rachael Wilson travels to Rome to speak to Italian business leaders about their diversity and inclusion plans.
Last week, Rachael was invited to speak at a conference in Rome hosted by EW Group’s Italian partners, Diversity Opportunity. These are divisive times in Italy: the general election the day before the event had ended in a hung parliament.
Against such an uncertain backdrop, Rachael wanted to get a sense of the efforts that Italian businesses are making to adapt perspectives around diversity, and to address barriers to inclusion. What she found was a genuine belief that diversity represents a source of team empowerment and business innovation.
“If you compare Italy now to 20 years ago, we’ve changed very very quickly. Companies are creating a new inclusive approach in order to transform diversity into business opportunity. It’s a reality that’s growing fast.”
Emelia Garito, TEDxRoma
As the only Brit in the room, Rachael took the chance to speak to a number of guests about the rising importance of workplace diversity and inclusion in Italy, and the progress made so far:
- Elvis Daniel, HR Business Partner at Stryker
- Emelia Garito, Organiser of TedxRoma
- Monica Ricci, HR Director, eFM
- Emiliano Boschetto, Institutional Relations and Communication Manager at eFM.
Episode 3 – Demographic Change with Aaqil Ahmed
Rachael Wilson hosts demographic change expert Aaqil Ahmed for a special event in London to discuss the business opportunities for growth that are linked to changing customer demographics.
Aaqil offers up a number of real-life case studies from the media, FMCG and retail sectors around building cultural literacy and awareness, especially around religion and faith. These include the M&S Modest fashion range, Nike’s Pro Hijab, and how Bicester Village has developed its East Asian and Gulf Arab customer bases.
Aaqil is the former Head of Religion and Ethics at the BBC and Commissioning Editor at Channel 4, and is now a Professor of Media at the University of Bolton. He specialises in working with businesses to pinpoint new opportunities to expand their reach in response to demographic change and the increasing need for cultural literacy.
This special episode was recorded live in front of an audience at Henry Wood House in London.
Episode 2 – Intrapreneurship with Marianne Constans
EW Group MD Rachael Wilson travels to Paris to talk to HR professional and inclusion specialist Marianne Constans about driving cultural change in organisations.
Marianne is closely involved in the growing intrapreneurship movement across Europe. What is intrapreneurship? It’s the idea of using entrepreneurial skills to lead innovation or change within a large organisation, whether that means products, processes or working cultures.
Marianne talks about her experiences of implementing organisational change around diversity and inclusion at the FTSE100 company Imperial Brands in Bristol. She provides a great insight into how to make real change happen within the constraints of a large company.
To learn more about the intrapreneurship movement, check out these links:
The League of Intrapreneurs – a community of intrapreneurs based in London, with case studies and practical tools
The book Marianne co-wrote on the subject (currently only available in French)
The Intrapreneurship Conference – a global platform that organises conferences around the world
This TED Talk by Shoel Perelman – ‘How a Company can Nurture its Internal Rebels’
Episode 1 – Trust with Chris Paton
Studies show that having a sense of purpose is increasingly what drives us to work. Building a culture of trust is one way to create that feeling for people.
During his time in the armed forces, Chris Paton was responsible for advising on Afghan Strategy and plans to the Cabinet Office and National Security Council. He also saw active service in a wide range of places including Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Georgia, and Afghanistan.
Chris has since founded the business wargaming consultancy Quirk Solutions, and specialises in working with public and private companies to stress-test their strategic plans through a facilitated technique called wargaming. Having been a leader himself in a high stakes armed forces environment, he now works closely with business leaders at the likes of Shell, Waitrose and Heineken. As Chris explains, when the stakes are high, we need to trust the people we work with.
Culturally intelligent leaders are 3.5 times more likely to get the full potential out of their staff
Teams with more than one member who represent your target customers are up to 158% more likely to understand their needs
What are the skills needed for the 21st-century workplace?
We’re interested in the micro-culture of work. How do we create a more inclusive culture, where everyone can contribute and thrive? There is no single ‘corporate culture’ anymore.
In Reworked, we’ll talk to employers, cultural commentators and employees themselves to find out just how different our working lives can be.
Our company culture podcast is hosted by EW Group MD Rachael Wilson.
Company culture and the race for talent
For businesses everywhere, the race is on to build a truly 21st-century workplace. Competition is fierce when it comes to attracting, recruiting and retaining the very best talent.
And the motivations of that talent are changing. People are choosing company cultures that focus on inclusive working environments. Trust, open communication and acceptance of difference are no longer the nice-to-haves; they’re the must-haves.